Andy Bean made three birdies and an eagle in his first five holes yesterday and went on to finish with a 66 for a 72-hole total of 15-under-par 273 and a five-stroke victory in the Kemper Open.
The win, the second of Bean's three-year career, gave him $60,000 - his biggest check on the PGA tour - and pushed his earnings for the year to more than $137,000. He now is fifth on the PGA money list.
Bean started the day at nine-under-par, one stroke behind rookie Alan Pate and tied with Wally Armstrong and Charles Coody. He parred the first hole, birdied the next three, sank a 40-foot putt for eagle on the fifth and never was seriously challenged.
The only real fight of the afternoon was for second place with Mark Hayes moving to 11-under-par with two holes to play. But he bogeyed 17 and finished at 10-under in a tie with Any North. Hayes had a 70 while North shot 69. Each picked up $27,750.
Steve Melnyk finished at nine under after a 70 while Pate, Coody, Armstrong, Hale Irwin, Dave Eichelberger and Ed Sneed were eight under.
"I was very fortunate in what I shot today," said Bean. "I kept the ball in play as I have all week."
Bean said the quick start give him confidence the rest of theround.
"You might say I got off to a pretty good start," he said. "I just missed a short one (birdie putt) at the first hole and got it close on the next two holes. Then I sank a 40-foot putt for an eagle."
Bean, 25, winner of last year's Doral Open, is known for his powerful drives, but the former University of Florida golfer put all his game together this week.
He opened with an even-par 72 over the 7,160-yard layout, added a 67 Friday to tie for fourth place and came back with a 68 Saturday.
He said he had trouble controlling his temper as a rookie in 1976 but worked to improve his composure and pulled in $127,000 last year. His best finish this season prior to the Kemper was a second place in Houston and a tie for second in San Diego. He had won $77,509 before this week.
Pate, who had to win $4,500 within two weeks to stay on the PGA tour, missed a 20-foot birdie putt on 18 and finished seven strokes behind Bean.
But Pate, whose best previous performance had been a tie for 36th in a PGA secondary tour event, finished in a six-way tie for sixth place and won $9,525.
"I've struggled hard almost the whole year since I've been out here," said the 23-year-old from Mobile, Ala. "It seemed like the harder I tried, the less it showed, but things sort of turned around for me this week." He had won only $500 in his first year on the tour.
The 6-foot-4, 210-pound Bean rocketed long-range drives down the fairways, repeatedly getting close enough to line up soft birdie putts.
His bogey on the par-3, 202-yard 17th came after he landed in a bunker.
"When the shot went in the bunker, I said, 'Oh, no,'" said Bean. "But Andy said, 'Don't worry about it - just get it up on dry land and hit it in,'" Bean said, referring to North, his playing partner.
Bean parred the final hole to cheers from a portion of the estimated 88,000 spectators who turned out during tournament week.